Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team avoided the pitfalls that can come from racing on the Monster Mile, the one-mile concrete oval that is better known as Dover International Speedway, and brought home an impressive eighth-place finish.
It was the team’s third-straight top-10 finish, its fifth top-10 of the season and its fourth finish of 11th or better in the past five races.
Blaney started the race from the 18th position after qualifying was rained out. He soon began working his way forward and was in the top 10 for the first time by Lap 145.
He ran either inside, or just outside, the top-10 until a multi-car crash on Lap 356. By avoiding being involved in a wreck that damaged 18 cars, Blaney was able to move up to seventh place for the start of a 40-lap run to the finish.
He lost one spot on the final run to the finish, and his eighth-place effort moved him up one spot in the Sprint Cup standings to 15th after 12 races.
Team co-owner Eddie Wood said Blaney and his spotter, Josh Williams did a great job missing all the wrecks on the way to a top-10 finish on a day that could have easily ended with a Did Not Finish.
“Ryan was close to every big wreck that happened,” Wood said. “He missed them all, and Josh did a great job helping him navigate through them.”
“Ryan did a heck of a job from start to finish. He stayed calm all day, and would up with a great finish at a place that can eat you up.”
Wood also had praise for crew chief Jeremy Bullins and all the members of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team.
“Jeremy made some great calls, including a call for two tires on an early stop that put us in the top-10 for the first time and set us up to stay right there for the rest of the race,” Wood said. “And the crew did their usual great job on pit road.”
Blaney said he hoped the Dover finish will allow him and his Motorcraft team to build on the momentum of the past few weeks.
“It was a good solid run and hopefully we can start stringing together some of these good finishes,” he said, adding that it was an eventful race from his point of view.
“It got wild there for a while, and there were a couple big wrecks,” he said. “We missed the big one. I don’t know how we missed it, but somehow we did. It was definitely a strange day and definitely a strange first Dover Cup race for me.”
Next up for Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team are two weeks of racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway, beginning with the Sprint All-Star race on Saturday night and the Coca-Cola 600 the week after.